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Not Being Believed or Being Silenced Does Great Harm to Survivors

Updated: Feb 12, 2023

For survivors of abuse not being believed or being silenced can be retraumatizing and detrimental to recovery. I have had both.

Revictimization can happen by external or internal people. Not being believed reinforces the conditioned belief that says “no one will believe you”. It’s more traumatizing when it is the first person we tell or is someone very important to us. When I had a person who didn't believe me when I talked about my abuse, I reminded myself that there were other peoplw who did believe me and this was just one person who didn't. To break the lie that "no one would believe me" that my abusers had told me that was reinforced by a person in present day that didn't, I continued to believe myself first of all and continued to talk to other people who believed me.

The most important thing was to not lose my voice, to believe myself, to not lose me, until I gained a stronger sense of self and more confidence.

When I was silenced by external people it was disempowering and devastating especially for parts who had just found their voice, affecting my entire system. It shut down some of my parts inside that had made progress and they wanted to withdraw and just give up. It undermined my confidence I had in myself that I had already gained.

What I did to empower myself…

  • I processed the emotions of shame and sadness with my therapist, and support group.

  • I refused to blame myself or listen to conditioning that said "I was bad for talking."

  • I continued to accept the parts that felt abandoned and rejected and shared my voice with people that were safe.

  • I didn't let what happened keep me down until I rose above the experience.

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